Wednesday

27th Jan 2021

Agenda

Talking about monetary union and Cyprus this WEEK

  • In Brussels on Monday to make the case for defence spending (Photo: Nato)

Senior EU politicians will gather for a conference in Brussels Tuesday on how to reach economic and monetary union (EMU) amid strong divisions between member states about the speed and order of the successive steps.

The meeting, attended by the head of the European Commission, the head of the European Parliament's economic affairs committee and the head of the Eurogroup, is to discuss how to reach "genuine" EMU.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Most EU talk on the matter is agreed that there needs to a banking union, more transfer of budgetary power to Brussels as well as solidarity mechanisms to help ailing states. Another key issue is how to make the transition and the final result happen in a way that EU citizens are aware of the process and approve of it.

At government level, the process is split between those member states - such as France - who want to see more solidarity before they undertake further structural reforms. On the other side is Germany - largely responsible for the pace of progress - who wants to see countries get their budgets in order before it will commit to solidarity measures.

The other major talking point this week will be recently bailed-out Cyprus. Its bailout package, requiring deep budget cuts as well as tax hikes, will be discussed by eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Tuesday in the European Parliament and a day later by economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn and European Central Bank member Joerg Asmussen.

Under the terms of Cyprus' bank bailout, shareholders, bond holders and uninsured deposit-holders are facing substantial losses, a key demand of Germany. Dijsselbloem has also indicated this will be the template for future bank bailouts.

Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen will kick off the week by appearing before the parliament's foreign affairs committee to discuss the future of EU defence. In recent weeks, he has been urging member states not to cut their defence budgets, even in times of economic crisis. He points out that lowering defence spending would lessen European states' ability to work along side the US on defence missions and risked undermining Washington's support for the military alliance.

Appearing in front of the committee directly after Rasmussen will be Italian defence chief Mario Mauro. He is to give his thoughts on what Italy expects from the high level EU defence summit planned for December.

On Wednesday the European Commission will unveil 12 new measures to improve the rights of citizens in the EU as well as a directive on improving transparency in bank charges.

Meanwhile Bulgaria will wrap up the week with parliamentary elections. The Sunday (12 May) poll is expected to return the centre-right Gerb to power, despite its resignation from government earlier this spring amid mass protests by Bulgarians over poor living standards.

A recent survey gave Gerb 23.6 percent of the vote and the Socialists at 17.7 percent. Bulgaria is the EU's poorest country and its disaffected citizens have been taking to the streets in anger over corruption, the unemployment rate and high utility bills.

MEPs slam Rehn over economic policy

EU economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn faced a sustained verbal shellacking on Thursday from MEPs on the left and right.

Vaccine delay and Russia sanctions debates This WEEK

The director of the European Medicine Agency, Emer Cooke will be quizzed by MEPs in the parliament on vaccine authorisation on Tuesday. EMA is expected to give the green light to the third vaccine at the end of the week.

EU leaders seek to speed up vaccinations This WEEK

EU leaders talk vaccines, while the Portugues EU presidency introduces itself to MEPs. Joe Biden will be inaugurated as president of the United States, and the EU hopes this will mark a new beginning for EU-US relations.

Vaccines in focus in the EU This WEEK

The European Parliament's environment committee will hear from the person who negotiated the vaccine contracts, commission director-general of health and food safety, Sandra Gallina.

Brexit, Budget, Turkey on summit agenda this WEEK

Any post-Brexit deal achieved needs to be ratified by the European Parliament before the end of December (and then by national parliaments), while some member states want to see the agreement translated before they can agree to it.

Gruelling Brexit and budget talks continue This WEEK

After almost a week of arm-wrestling and ten days before the UK severs all of its EU ties, negotiators are back working hard on a deal on the future EU-UK relations. Budget and rule of law talks will also continue.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. Giuseppe Conte: scapegoat or Italy's most cunning politician?
  2. Borrell to meet Lavrov, while Navalny behind bars
  3. Too few central and eastern Europeans at top of EU
  4. Rift widens on 'returns' deadline in EU migration pact
  5. EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map
  6. Migrants in Bosnia: a disaster foretold on EU doorstep
  7. Navalny protests sharpen EU sanctions talks
  8. Why Russia politics threaten European security

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us